Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater insists his side "tried as hard as we could" to frustrate Manchester City in their 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
Bernardo Silva scored the only goal of the game as the Premier League leaders made it 14 top-flight wins in a row at home to move within four victories of the title.
The reigning champions were heavily criticised for their negative approach in Sunday's game, in which they managed no shots on target and just 29 per cent of the possession, with former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Carragher describing their performance as "a crime against football".
Drinkwater says the plan to limit City's attacking options was successful in parts of the match and maintains there was no lack of effort from the players, even if the result was disappointing.
"We came to frustrate them and it was working at times in the game, but in the end we lost it, so it's no good," he said, as quoted by Chelsea's official website.
"It was our game plan, but we have got to take responsibility on the pitch. We had to try and nullify them. They try and pull you out of pockets, frustrate you defensively and play round you. That's how they create their spaces between the two lines.
"We were trying as hard as we could to not let that happen but, with the players they have got, it's going to happen sometimes.
"It was difficult. It felt like we were doing a lot of running and they had all the time in the world. The way they scored the goal is tough to take.
"We didn't utilise the counter-attack as well as we could have done. We were sloppy on the ball sometimes. We were running a lot off the ball so it's about finding the balance. It's frustrating because we could have drawn 0-0 and that wouldn't have been a bad result."
The defeat, which came a week on from their 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford, leaves Chelsea five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the race for the Champions League places.
Drinkwater has urged his side to put the disappointment of their last two results behind them as they aim to climb back into the top four in the final nine matches of the campaign.
"We need to get back on it," he said. "The quicker we do that, the better. Gaps can close, positions can change and we need to make that change.
"We need to look at what's available to us now, points-wise. There are nine games left, 27 points, and stuff can still change. We need to force our way back into it."